NANOSCIENCE

Getting random with thermal noise

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 367-368
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6349.367-e

Software-generated random numbers depend on an initial seed value, and thus a sequence can be replicated if one knows this initial seed. In contrast, one can generate true random numbers by tapping into random natural phenomena, such as noise caused by thermal fluctuations. Gaviria Rojas et al. built static random access memory (SRAM) cells from single-walled carbon nanotubes fixed onto polymer substrates. When the SRAM is first supplied with power, it exists in a metastable binary state. Whether it is on or off is then determined by thermal fluctuations. The authors leveraged this digitization of random noise to create a simple generator of true random number that is compatible with printable and flexible electronics.

Nano Lett. 10.1021/acs. nanolett.7b02118 (2017).

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